I have been part of organizing Agile Finland's Helsinki Coaching Circles since last fall. The latest session was so good it inspired me even without me actually being present there myself.
The subject was Agile and impro and the part that caught my eye was a LinkedIn post by Ulla Järvinen where she discussed working with "Yes, and...".
The basic idea of "Yes, and..." is to always respond with "Yes, and..." to any idea. You have to agree and then build up on the thing suggested. Instead of thinking what the problems are, you start by accepting what was said and work from there. It's superbly empowering to everyone.
"I think we could outsource all our developers."
"Yes, and then we could also lay off all the HR people!" No, wait, that's an awful example.
The opposite of "Yes, and..." is "No, but...". Historically I have been highly allergic to "No, but..." environments. The ones where practically everything is impossible, no change is possible, all ideas are shot down, and even if everything is pretty much awful all the time, changing anything would just be impossible, useless, or probably would make things worse.
It's like being suffocated.
Seeing "Yes, and..." exercises being discussed made me realize that often my reaction to these "No, but..." environments has been just to throw my arms up in disgust and resignation. "A bad system will beat a good person every time" I've thought and just tried to find sneaky ways to slip in some changes where possible while getting progressively more and more demoralized.
But a Scrum master is not just a good person. They are responsible for making systems better.
Practicing "Yes, and..." and running similar exercises is one very concrete way to try to affect an environment and give an organization or a team new ways to look at things. Maybe they just need to see that it's possible to occasionally say yes to things even if you're not completely sure where it will lead you to. Maybe they don't need to always mitigate risks before the idea has even been fully formed.
Sometimes you just need to take a step back. If you can't change the thing you want to change, you have to change the thing stopping you from changing the thing. "Yes, and..." and similar exercises might be a way to do just that.